New Generation of Simatic Communication Modules
Following the successful introduction of the Simatic RF185C, RF186C and RF188C communication modules, Siemens is launching two additional devices on the market: Simatic RF186CI and RF188CI.
As well as the option to connect two or four RFID readers, both modules have an additional port for digital I/Os.The basis for this is an integrated IO-Link Master.
For the new modules, access to configuration, commissioning and diagnostics tools is no longer simply supported via the proven TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal but now also via web-based management.
Simatic RF185C, RF186C/CI and RF188C/CI support OPC UA (Unified Architecture - standard for data exchange as a platform-independent, service-oriented architecture) as their interface to the IoT (Internet of Things) world, and communicate via the OPC UA Auto ID Companion specification V1.0 data model.
This enables manufacturer-independent communication within the automation and a standardized connection to cloud applications such as MindSphere - the open, cloud-based IoT operating system – through an industrial IoT gateway. Siemens is therefore paving the way for high frequency (HF) RFID cloud connection.
The new Simatic RF186CI and RF188CI communication modules use the integrated IO-Link master as a basis to offer both the option to connect two or four RFID readers and an additional port for digital I/Os.
Via the IO-Link master it is possible to connect various IO-Link hubs or standard sensors or actuators without additional configuration. This makes it easy to integrate light barriers, proximity switches or track switches in the production plant, for example. Furthermore, an I/O expansion module with up to eight inputs and outputs can be integrated, which supports the mixed connection and operation of actuators and sensors.
For maximum flexibility in terms of design, the communication modules support star, line, and ring topologies by means of two M12 plugs each for Ethernet and power supply and an integrated switch. This means that every type of application can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. The new L-coded M12 plugs provide a high transmission current of up to 16 amperes in line topologies, thus reducing cabling effort.
In addition to the proven access to configuration, commissioning and diagnostics tools via TIA Portal, web-based management can now also be used. This in addition to adjustable and parameterizable diagnostics and the display of error messages and operating status (for example transponders in the field and status) via LED make commissioning, troubleshooting and service much easier.
The integrated logbook can be used to trace when an error occurred, hours or even months later.
Higher data throughput and optimal data usage
The Cloud connection of HF RFID systems such as Simatic RF200 and RF300 offers users new opportunities for using the data obtained from the RFID transponders. Operational resources such as containers or pallets can be digitally registered and tracked. Analysis of the data transmitted to the Cloud supplies vital information about KPIs such as plant availability or utilization of assets, thus making a valuable contribution to process optimization.
The new communication modules are suitable for use wherever RFID readers from Simatic Ident are used. Depending on the application, users can benefit from an increase in data throughput of up to 20 percent compared to previous modules.
Thanks to their high IP67 degree of protection (protection against the ingress of foreign bodies and water) and compact design, the communication modules, which are developed and manufactured in Germany, are ideal for use in harsh industrial environments and for installation where space is limited.